The red carpet campaign
Don’t get me wrong: I like celebrities. Not as much as I like shrimp po’boys, or a good dog, but still…
I have spent time in the company of many actors, singers, dancers, magicians, jugglers, famous chefs, and infamous sports figures. Most have been pleasant. Some have been very nice. A few have been world class jerks. Never, however, have I walked away thinking, “Wow, if only this person could help run the country, we’d all be better off!”
And yet, the White House, through both Democratic and Republican years, has hosted more famous friends than Wolfgang Puck. It’s like dinner with Larry King every night over there; uh…without Larry. This week Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt – in town to screen Jolie’s new movie about Bosnian war crimes –stopped by to grab a grilled cheese with the president. I have met both halves of Brangelina and have no bone to pick with either. They were polite, well versed in their causes (she more than he, to be honest), and they didn’t put their feet on the furniture.
Still, it baffles me why the White House seems to always have a guest room ready for such rich and famous folks, while you and I couldn’t get in for a glass of water if we were on fire. Sure, celebs talk about serious issues. But don’t you have some ideas you’d like to chat over in the Oval Office? (I mean other than having your brother-in-law deported.) And can you imagine any president saying, “Oh no! We’re on the brink of a global conflagration. Quick, get me Reese Witherspoon!”
As this election year rolls on, however, we can all expect to see many more celebs hanging out in politically high places; offering often unqualified opinions, endorsing candidates, and enjoying the kind of access to power that you and I will never, ever enjoy. Come to think of it, I know exactly why it happens: Because celebs bring fame, social contacts, and money to political players. That’s all it is.
Still, it seems a bit disingenuous for Washington types to constantly rant, rave, and stamp their feet over the undue influence of the rich and powerful, while simultaneously swinging the door open wide over and over again to welcome the rich and powerful, while famously telling the rest of us to keep our feet off the red carpet…and wait outside.